There are three magic words for bike touring. These three magic words will make you climb 3000 foot mountains right up to sunset, even if you've ridden enough for one day.
The magic words are "Hot Spring Spa".
We are up around 3000 feet. Last night we were below sea level. Here is what it looked like halfway up.
It's just rocks. It's not as steep as the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we were climbing for two hours and twelve miles.
Here is a view from the top, looking back where we came from.
The mountains you can barely see way off in the distance are where we were yesterday. They are 100 miles away. When we came over those moutains yesterday, we could see today's mountains. They were very big and intimidating. We get to climb 1000 more feet tomorrow, but we well feel great because we sat in the hot spring jacuzzi for a couple hours drinking beer.
We had breakfast in the Imperial Valley town of El Centro, at a restaraunt attached to a motel whose name I forget. After El Centro, we had a choice. We could follow the Adventure Cycling route to Ocotillo, or we could take this back road to Ocotillo, which was 10 miles shorter. The prospect of the hot spring spa motivated us to take the back road.
There is a reason the back road is not the Adventure Cycling route. That reason is halfway to Ocotillo, the pavement becomes The Historical Pavement Museum, where you can experience pavement from what looks like 70 years ago in it's natural, unrestored state. It was brutal. The only benefit was we got to go to Plaster City.
You might wonder what sort of person would live in a town named Plaster City. The answer is absolutely no one. Here is a picture of Plaster City.
They make sheet rock here. And ride off-road vehicles. That's it.
We had fun here in Jacumba. We were talking to the owner of this establishment while we were sitting in the bar eating dinner. He is a character. He says he owns the whole entire town, and he is going to restore it to its days of glory in the 1930s when movie stars came here for the mineral baths and it was a big deal. He says he used to be the CEO of a computer company in Hazelton, PA, and now he develops resorts. This is a pretty nice place now, and it has a lot of potential. We are only 70 miles from San Diego.
That's right. Only 70 miles. No more centuries on this trip. Tomorrow is almost certainly the end of the ride, seeing as how 40 of those 70 miles are down great big hills.
Here is the map of the big climb.